Thursday, January 27, 2011

On microdills

To learn more about the training of skills I need a clearcut example. Writing down the moves seems to fit this bill perfectly. It is not difficult to come up with a microdrill that adresses this. I take an empty board, I make knight moves on it and call out loud the names of the squares I'm visiting.

In the first minute it already became clear that it takes me a few seconds to come up with the name of a square. As I have often declared, the brains seem to hate it to store information in memory when it can be reconstructed. But reconstruction needs time, takes away resources from the short term memory and needs conscience. During normal circumstances those 3 resources are available in abundance during a game. I never even noticed that it took me a few seconds extra to write down my moves. But in time trouble those resources are scarce. Hence my annotation disintegrates.

So the questions are:
  • Does this microdrill convince my brains that it is better to absorb a skill than to hang on to reconstruction?
  • How does the brain decide when to use which method? What is the trigger?
  • How much training time is needed?
  • Does the difference in brain activity of a skill and a reconstruction meet the findings of FMRI-brainscans of amateurs and grandmasters?
  • What are other skills that need to be trained and that have an effect on the outcome of the game?
I'm going to find out.


  1. I think skills you become by doing them multiple of times. With other words, repeat, repeat, repeat.

    Its like a musician. He needs to learn to know his instrument. He can only do that by practising lots of hours, days, weeks, months, years.

    So i dont know if a microdrill is enough. But i wish you all the best.

  2. if you have an hour to see a pragmatic explanation of how the brain works watch this talk by David Rock.

  3. Also, Viewing the board from the black vs white side of the board requires me to adjust my thinking and removes some of my automatic processing.Most check programs and books show the view from the white side of the board.

    Do you run into your issues more when playing black or is it the same with white?

  4. @CT,
    There are going to be many microdrills, if I can prove my case with this specific drill.

    a very good video indeed.

    I'm going to test if I have other problems when doing the microdrill as black. (At first I didn't even know that I had problems as white, remember?)